By Ed Baylor: The New York Jets made a smart move to bolster their team with the addition of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. on Friday in signing him to a 1-year deal. Winslow Jr., the son of former San Diego Chargers great tight end Kellen Winslow, has played for three separate teams since being drafted in the 1st round by the Cleveland Browns in 2004 out of Miami.
The Jets needed a tight end to replace Dustin Keller, and they have found an even better player in 29-year-old Winslow.
Winslow only played in one game for the New England Patriots last season. He asked to be released by the team early in the season in September for some reason. He wasn’t going to be the main tight end on the Patriots team, as they have Rob Gronkowski filling that role, so Winslow’s playing time would have been limited unless the Patriots were using two tight ends on the field at the same time.
Winslow attended a 3-day mini-camp with the Jets recently, and the Jets coach Rex Ryan came away very impressed with what he saw of Winslow and this led to the Jets signing him to a 1-year contract. The fact that it was a 1-year contract instead of a multiple year contract suggests that there may be some question marks the Jets have about Winslow that could be answered this season depending on how he performs.
The Jets badly need a tight end that can catch the ball because their receivers aren’t high quality and they don’t have a lot of targets for the Jets quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith to throw to. It’s kind of a situation where the talent is good at the quarterback position but they can’t show their talent with the receivers to throw to. Winslow is more like a receiver than a traditional tight end because of his speed and pass-catching ability.
Winslow has had some nice years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns where he’s caught over 70 passes. He caught over 80 passes for the Browns in 2006 and 2007. Winslow also had two seasons with over 70 pass receptions with the Bucs in 2009 and 2011.